Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management Launches New Experiential Learning Venture
Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management is launching a new experiential learning venture, unmatched by business schools across the country. Whitman leadership will unveil Consurtio at a special event October 1, at the Whitman School.
Consurtio is a firm where students run the internal operations of the company, as well as work on individual accounts for client businesses in Central New York and across the country. The firm offers a variety of business solutions aligned with the curriculum at the Whitman School, including but not limited to: accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, management, real estate and supply chain management. Whitman faculty, staff, alumni and seasoned professionals mentor the students throughout the experience.
“The future of higher education is experiential learning,” said Kenneth Kavajecz, dean of the Whitman School and professor of finance. “Consurtio is a construct by which students can apprentice in their chosen fields, as well as experience a functional area different than the one they are studying.”
Dr. Kavajecz added that Consurtio is a higher level of hands-on learning than an internship or classroom experience due to the high touch and intensive involvement the students will have within a real firm with real clients. “They’re not reading a book or writing a paper; they’re watching it happen and making it happen,” he said.
“There is nothing better than project-based learning,” said Terry Brown, executive director of the Whitman School’s Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship and CEO of Consurtio. “Students remember and internalize those experiences.”
Brown explained that Consurtio’s goal is to deliver a product that is equal to or better than industry standards, providing new opportunities for businesses both regionally and nationally. “Consurtio is not only transforming business education at Whitman but also supporting local companies and economic development both across Central New York and nationally,” said Brown. “The firm will offer business solutions from consulting to start-up support to nonprofit. Consurtio also will help distressed companies by analyzing whether those firms can be turned around and relaunched.”
Dr. Kavajecz said the goal is to have all 500 Whitman School seniors that are interested be involved in some aspect of running the firm or its projects. MBAs also will be engaged in the management of the firm. “They will rotate through the C suite roles much like a corporate leadership development program, gaining in-depth experience across a range of business areas,” he said.
Another unique aspect to Consurtio is the fact that it is issuing “shares,” which will allow supporters to remain connected to the firm. These shares will be unofficially recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission so students can have the full range of experience of equity financing and ownership. The equity raised will go toward the long-term financing of operations.
“Our primary goal is not to make money,” said Dr. Kavajecz. “Our focus is to engage students and help them gain real-world experience.”
Syracuse University also has earmarked a portion of its endowment to fund operational costs for Consurtio. Chancellor Kent Syverud himself was an early client.
“The work of the Whitman students on a business plan for the Minnowbrook Conference Center rivaled some of the best I have seen,” said Chancellor Syverud. “The team was extremely professional, and offered recommendations and suggested action items that will be very valuable as we develop a future strategy for this Syracuse University treasure.” For more information and to stay connected as Consurtio grows, visit www.consurtio.com.